I’ve been reading a lot about Demons and possession lately. It’s research for a novel and I have to admit that reading about Demons, working myself into physical exhaustion two days in a row, and drinking a lot of coffee can make for some fairly interesting synergy. Developing a character who isn’t human is difficult to a degree, but it’s something I’ve done before. Developing an incorporeal character that tends towards the ethereal is a little harder. Throw in the fact the character has a very serious attitude problem towards people, and well, it can be quite devilish.
Most of the characters I invent tend to live inside of me in some shape fashion or form, and to have this one getting all fleshed out and suited up is fun, but it is also a little weird. I sat down with him a few days ago and went through some attributes he would have and some he wanted but I wasn’t willing to write in, and like all good fictional people, he more or less was pissed that I didn’t just turn the entire thing over to him. I’ve been through this before too. If you have never written fiction before all of this sounds more than a little stranger, and quite honestly, it still bothers me betimes, but at the same time, no one said paying The Muse was cheap, or easy, or for that matter, made for good mental health.
My human characters are going along nicely, and those who are not supposes to play nice with one another already do not like each other. I have a police detective as the main human, a priest as her antagonist, his assistant who is a weasel of the first order, a virologist who is as amoral as anyone I have ever invented, and a psychologist who thinks the Demon is just plain mental illness run amok. Throw in a very rich man who lost a wife to a serial killer, and who has a crush on the cop, and I think it will all really not work out in the end.
Like a kid with a toy, I like to invent neat places for things to happen. The story is centered on a possessed man, who may or may not really be possessed and the aforementioned people have him penned up in a lab. The problem here is a lot like the guys at the New York zoo back in the early days of the zoo, and they sent a telegram to someone they knew in India. They wanted the very biggest King Cobra anyone had to offer. The snake person in India told them he could get them one, and he sent it by steamer, with a guard to keep in alive until it got there. The guard handed over the crate and the zoo keepers took it to the zoo and opened the crate and out poured eighteen feet of seriously pissed off cobra. It stood six feet when it reared and it chased them all out of the room, and it was a full day before they would figure out how to get it into its enclosure.
Having a Demon is one thing, but keeping it quite another.
The priest and his sidekick want to kill the Demon outright, and they think if they convince the others in the lab there really is a Demon, they’ll agree to it. The psychologist thinks any sort of behavior that reaffirms the patients idea he is possessed is a very bad thing. The detective things it’s all a waste of money, and wonders why the hell they have a virologist hanging around.
Here’s the thing; Let’s say you could sit down and talk to a Great White Shark about why sharks attack people. It really doesn’t happen so often so that there is a great concern for it, but at the same time, it would be good to know why sharks do what they do.
That last paragraph ended with a word count of 666 by the way.
But what if Demons were not evil? Suppose they were much like sharks, or lions and tiger and bears, and merely fed on humans as a means of existence? Throughout human history there have been tales of Demons and they are not always malevolent. If you could sit down and have a nice civil conversation with an ethereal creature that needed to possess a human being to survive, would you?
Meanwhile, you have to think about the idea of having the conversation if there is some sort of possibility the priests might be right. If there were evil, and could convince you there were not, and they really needed to inhabit people, and not very good people would do, at what point would you think it’s a good idea to let a Demon hang around?
Would what you were learning from the Demon be worth the risk of letting it sit in front of you and speak to you as if were just another creature on earth? But then again, what if the Demon was just a part of nature, and you had the possibility to learn from another being, possibly as intelligent as humans, but with their own view of history, and their own culture?
If you take good and evil out of the equation and look at Demons as part of the nature world, you still have the same problem as we have with the Alligator or the Grizzly bear. When one of those creatures kills someone, they are usually hunted down and killed. There have been some cases where people did seriously stupid things, like the guy who said, “Watch how close I can get to it!” The gator didn’t like it. The man was chomped. When you infringe upon the personal space of an eleven foot long gator, it will end poorly.
I’m not the most religious person on earth so my question to those who might be is this, “Would you allow a Demon to possess someone if you could learn more about them?”